Southern France, too, has suffered from exceptionally bad weather during the last two months of 1996. This resulted in a significant delay in the scheduled interferometer observations. More than two meters of snow have accumulated on the Plateau de Bure, and cleaning the tracks to access the extended configuration will require several days, despite the improved equipment.
Icing conditions also caused a serious cable car problem just before Christmas. The maintenance team worked for 10 days before normal operations could be restored. The Plateau de Bure staff exchanges during this period had to be performed by helicopter, when weather conditions allowed.
The accumulated delay is large enough to cause some scheduling problems even for ``A'' proposals, because some sources will approach the sun avoidance period relatively soon. IRAM will contact the PIs of projects which might not be carried out or might have to be truncated. ``B'' proposals are unlikely to be scheduled unless they fall in a favorable LST range.